Russia-led alliance sends forces to Kazakhstan as unrest intensifies

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Russian-led military alliance said On Thursday it was sending troops to Kazakhstan to help defuse the deadly unrest that rocked the Central Asian country.

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big picture: Dozens of people, including protesters and police officers, have been killed in more than four days of unrest that began as outrage over rising fuel prices and some of the worst street violence in Kazakhstan since the former Soviet country’s independence in 1991. have increased in , AP reports,

  • According to the current chairman of the coalition, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization is sending peacekeeping forces to the country at the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
  • It is not clear how many troops the coalition is sending and how long they will remain in the country.

Between the lines: “Russia is notorious for sending troops under the guise of peacekeeping missions to establish a permanent presence in host countries,” New York Times Notes,

  • Due to internet shutdowns and tight government controls, it is difficult to verify the extent of the violence.
Protesters rally in Almaty on January 5

Running news: Protests began peacefully in the city of Zhanozhen on Sunday after the government nearly doubled the price of liquefied petroleum gas, widely used to fuel vehicles in the country, according to the Times.

  • By Tuesday, when the government announced it would repeal the price hike, protests had spread across the resource-rich country and angered over inequality, government representation, corruption and other issues.
  • Tokayev’s government on Wednesday announced the resignation, per ap. Although the unrest continued, security forces fired water cannons, tear gas shells and grenades at protesters, some of which stormed government and public buildings, businesses and an airport. The mayor’s office and other buildings were set on fire in the major city of Almaty, Peru Reuters,
  • Tokayev, who has vowed tough action on the unrest and called the protesters “a band of international terrorists”, declared a nationwide state of emergency for two weeks, including curfews and other restrictions, the Times reports.
Security forces in Almaty Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS via Getty Images

What are they saying: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a call with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tlebardi on Thursday “reiterated the United States’ full support for Kazakhstan’s constitutional institutions and media freedom, and advocated a peaceful, rights-respecting solution to the crisis.” of,” according to spokesperson Ned Price.

  • “The secretary also raised the priority of promoting stability in Europe, including supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to Russian aggression,” Price said.
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